Bond hearing scheduled to discuss Viera East Community District improvements
The Board of Supervisors of the Viera East Community Development District will hold a public hearing July 25 to discuss its proposal to purchase a $9 million bond to fund project improvements.
The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the multi-purpose building of Faith Lutheran Church, 5550 Faith Drive, Viera.
According to a letter sent to Viera East communities, the VECDD wants to use 94 percent of the money to enhance the Viera East Golf Club and Clubhouse. The golf club is a revenue-generating entity that is not profitable enough to pay for the proposed enhancements. These enhancements include:
* Clubhouse renovations, including a banquet facility at a cost of $2.9 million
* A new irrigation system for $2 million
* Bunker renovations for $1.1 million
The complete budget for the project is listed below. In addition to the $9 million in expenses, homeowners also will pay $2 million in interest.
In order to pay off the $9 million bond, Viera East homeowners will have to pay the bill. The assessment will take effect after the VECDD’s water management assessment bond is paid off in 2023.
Homeowners in Six Mile Creek, Crane Creek, Cross Creek and some portions of the Indian River Colony Club are not affected by the bond. There are more than 4,500 households in the VECDD. Of that total, 791 houses are on the golf course.
Robert Dale, a former VECDD board member and a resident of the Osprey development, is opposed to the bond because he believes only 10 to 20 percent of Viera East communities would benefit from the project.
“I’m not convinced that strapping people with an additional $500 assessment is the right thing to do right now,” he said. “Government should get out of the golfing business.”
Hammock Trace homeowner Linda Elliott also is very upset about the proposed bond.
“The golf course is failing and is not beneficial to many Viera East residents,” she said.
Elliott also said she doesn’t understand why the board wants to take out another bond after it pays off the water management assessment bond in 2023.
“The board is being fiscally irresponsible,” she said.
Paul McCarthy, chairman of the EVCDD who was elected by Viera East residents, refused to comment about the proposed bond.
“I think it would be inappropriate for me to comment about it,” he said. “I can’t speak for the entire board. I think it would be in the best interest of the board if all comments come from our general manager, Tim Melloh.”
Melloh, the general manager for the Viera East Golf Club and Course, said the bond is necessary to upgrade the facility.
“It’s been 25 years since we started and many areas are well past their life expectancy,” he said. “We need to upgrade our facility.”
While many golf courses around the state and nation are failing and closing, Melloh said Viera East made about a $50,000 profit last year. It needs to make improvements to stay competitive with other area golf courses.
“A lot of people don’t understand that these improvements will help their property values in the VECDD,” he said.
The golf course and clubhouse is part of the VECDD. Viera East homeowners are made aware that any improvements done to the facility come under the VECDD.
The Viera East Community Development District is a local government entity authorized by Chapter 190 of the Florida Statutes as amended, and created by ordinance of Brevard County as an alternative method of planning, acquiring, operating and maintaining community-wide improvements in planned communities. A CDD provides the “solution” to Florida’s need to provide valuable community infrastructure generated by growth, ultimately without overburdening other governments and their tax-paying residents.
Community development districts represent a major advancement in Florida’s effort to manage its growth effectively and efficiently. This allows a developer to establish higher construction standards, meanwhile providing a long-term solution to the operation and maintenance of the community’s facilities.
The Viera East Community Development District is organized similar to other local governments in Florida, in that the legislative body is composed of a five-member board known as the Board of Supervisors. The board establishes the policy of the district in accordance with Florida law.
Elliott said she is concerned about CDDs and their roles.
“This powerful group of people sit on a five-member board and are called a Community Development District or CDD. It functions much like a city council,” she said. “Florida has more than 600 CDDs across the state. While there’s a sense of security you get when buying a home, in exchange for peace of mind, many homeowners pay annual fees to maintain their community. However, in many communities, those fees continue to grow and some communities are being taken over. Homeowners are losing their peace, and in some cases, losing their home values.”
Governmental Management Services (GMS) oversees VECDD. GMS is a family of limited liability companies that were established for the purpose of providing special district management services to community development districts. Financially backed by a small group of investors and with encouragement from the development community, GMS was created to provide an alternative to the existing district management companies. Governmental Management Services currently has offices in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Knoxville, Tennessee.
District Manager Jason Showe said GMS provides information for the VECDD. He said the proposed interest rate on the bond is 3.01 percent.